At the field:
Xico has workd at the Farm for 30 years, he is our right hand when it comes to the field. Everything he knows he has learned by is own hand and listening to others’ thoughts on the matter. If there is anyone that makes a difference in the field, its people like Xico, people who have lived their lives with both their feet on the ground, both literally and figuratively. When you want an honest and assertive opinion, we go to him – a man who is truly trustworthy.
Duarte, my oldest son, started working at the farm since the very start of the project. He, a bit like myself, has done a bit of everything around here; today he is in charge of everything we produce at the farm. More committed with each passing day and striving for everything to work a its best capacity. They say it’s not easy to work with family and if anyone knows that it's the two of us. However, what brings the most joy and assures me that it’s all worth it, is to know that we both think alike when it comes to the “big” decisions, the ones about values, principles and which paths to follow. The rest is “peanuts” that we have to learn how to manage.
Boonchu was the first Thai to come work with us. He arrived in December 2011. If at the time mutually understanding each other was difficult, today that’s not even an issue. Always the same, at the same pace, with the same smile, no surprises, that’s Boonchu. So great, that we decided to multiply him by three.
A year later came Chaiwat. The same dedication and commitment at the same pace.
Prathuenang is the third Thai working with us in the field. It’s a pleasure working with them.
João Maltesinho is our “kid”. Began working at the farm when he was 21 years old. Just a kid, but the truth is that passing years have made him grow and learn a lot. With his trusty beret, he is a farmer by heart and soul, always concerned with growing the best crops.
They say in life nothing comes randomly and Helder is certainly a confirmation of that saying. He started working with us in August 2017, he was 31 years old and had never been able to find a job simply because he’s deaf. He grabbed on to this opportunity “with his nails and teeth” (as we say). Helder is an incredibly hard worker, tireless and now a happy man.
At the warehouse:
Bela has been at the farm since 1992, and Mena since 1997. Little did they know when they came to the farm that one day they would become professionals at making boxes. They have been in this story since box nr 1, so many times they would tell me “we can’t do anymore boxes”, many times when they thought we had reached our limit… together we have learnt that limits are only set by ourselves. With the help of new facilities, new procedures and an increasing amount of “know how”, even they amaze themselves at the amount of boxes they are able to make at the end of each week.
In 2015, Sr. João came to do an internship by the IEFP. It was a month of taking inventories, cleaning, tiding all our tools. It went so well that he was invited to stay on. With hands capable of doing almost any job thrown his way, that is what he went on to do… “almost everything”. He worked in the field and went on to work at our warehouse. A living example of a multi-skilled worker that is essential in any small company. It is likely that more experiences are still around the corner for him.
Anabela came to the farm in August 2017 to work picking pear at our orchards, she was hard-working element of that team, and we decided to ask her to stay on. She is one the people at the warehouse that is responsible for packaging products for the boxes, she does the best she can, every day.
Sérgio arrived in August 2018, he is the chief of the warehouse, and as the name indicates, he is responsible for making sure the work is done properly and that all products we send have the expected quality. He also organizes the work in a way that our delivery team can leave the farm at the right time to make it to every home.
Veronica came knocking at our office door one day in January 2019, asking if we needed any workers. As it turned out, we did. And so she stayed. I think she not only found a job, but a family among her team at the warehouse.
At the distribution:
Duarte Belo, inspite of having a special status, is a wonderful member of our team. In … I launched a challenge. Who wanted to start their own company and come work with us delivering our boxes? Duarte answered, he like the idea, started his company and off he went. Firstly, he delivered boxes around Sintra and later he went on to take the whole Margem Sul. He is truly an incredible worker. Extremely organized and dedicated to our cause. He is the first to arrive to load his van and first to start his route. The funniest thing is that it was very unlikely that he would stick around for as long as he did. Another snap judgement on my part.
Pedro came to the farm on a beautiful October day in 2014, with even asking he promptly told us that he would really love to work with us doing whatever we had for him to do. At the time we needed someone to work at the field and that’s where he went with a smile on his face. Later came the need to have a second deliveryman and there he went with a smile on his face. Pedro is one of those rare persons that any company would like to have - always ready, always available, efficient and always smiling… always happy.
Eduardo started working with us in April 2017. Always available, in a good mood and just the nicest person, he has become a valuable member of the distribution team. Since January 2019 he took on another task… our Saturday Markets. Therefore, every Saturday you can find him along with his smiley face at the market in Cascais.
Pedro Rodrigues (who made the 1º Pedro become Pedro Fernandes) started working here in May 2018. This Pedro is much like a rocket in true meaning of the word. He passes by running, leaves running and gets back even faster. If there were a 100m race for box deliverymen we would definitely enrol him.
At the office_
Bruna came to work at the office in February 2014. She is the one that receives all customer’s orders, processes them, makes the orders to our suppliers and makes the invoices for each and every box individually. Bruna is our office “Thai”. Always at the same pace, always available, always with a smile and ever so pacient. Bruna never changes the tone of her voice, even in the midst of chaos, it’s always calm and serene. (she says it’s not quite like that anymore…that she’s changed, she’s more cranky…but I haven’t noticed). She transmits confidence and tranquillity. I know Bruna never leaves her job undone. What most amazes me (and I don’t think I’ve ever told her) it’s that in all these years, with a few thousands of processed invoices, the mistakes she’s made probably don’t hit the double-digit mark.
There was a girl that was always available to work in almost anything we had, in the markets, in the weekends at the warehouse (when we needed to pack products for store deliveries), at any event, in our booth in Mercado da Ribeira… Mariana was always there. And she wasn’t just there. She always did everything with her heart and soul poured into it and if possible her hands, feet, legs and arms… the whole deal. If she wanted to (of course), I couldn’t wait for her to finish her degree and start working with us. What else could a company want than a person that feels it as her own, truly her own? That suffers with it, puts in the effort, cares, lies and breathes the Farm. Mariana is creativity. The arts, whatever they may be, run in her veins. But that’s not all that runs in her veins… because she loves so many areas of work and she’s good at a lot of them and her head literally runs at 500km per hour, the only issue is get her to stop. Mixing what is already within her with the place where her heart and soul is could only result in booming results.
Nitos came to the farm in November 2018 as a proof that life can be truly unpredictable. Nitos was the recipient of our very first box. We have known each other for 18 years; we had children going to the same school. And not only that, but the company she worked for was the first to give out our Christmas boxes to their clients. I remember so well how everything was (so much more) artisanal…I had never thought that she would one day come work with us, I don’t think she had either. I always wanted it to happen, and I think my wants truly have some kind of magic in them. Well that’s life and here she is. She came in when it was time for us to have someone in the Finance Department. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how she loves numbers this much.
A Tisbe veio em Dezembro de 2018, substituir a Silvia na licença de maternidade. Nos primeiros dias o mais difícil foi atinarmos com o nome. Diz ela que já está habituada. A Tisbe é sempre uma lufada de ar fresco aqui no escritório. Sempre (quase) bem disposta e em festa, é ela que trata da “pasta para a contabilidade”, que fala com fornecedores, que organiza o material para os mercados, que trata dos vencimentos.
Joana got in our team in September of 2019 and will be in charge of the marketing department and events.
At the restaurant:
Tomás started working with us in March 2018. He came in as the third element in our kitchen team and I remember thinking he wouldn’t stay very long. Again my snap judgements were completely misleading. Not only did he stay, but he has also endured a lot of changes and today he’s the number 1 element of the team. In the mean time he transformed from a “normal” food cooker (as he used to say) into a wonderful vegetarian food cooker. It’s funny how not that long ago he told me that he’s grown to enjoy cooking the vegetarian dishes a lot more than meat ones. Tomás is our “Thai” in the kitchen, always at same pace, “storms” may come and go but he remains is consistent self. Dedicated, committed and responsible. He doesn’t like to be the centre of attention and unlike many chefs he’s a man of few words. I have come to learn that it’s people like him that transmit a sense of reliability and consistency in any kitchen.
Isaque started working here through a suggestion from Tomás. He arrived in May 2019 and I believe, has learned a lot since then. He might still be very young and has a long way to go in his career, but as long as he stays committed and dedicated he too will become a great cooker.
Inês started working at the restaurant in November 2018 as a waitressing extra and went on to become our head waitress. Although she didn’t know a lot about waitressing when she got here, she has made a great effort to maintain the level of service that we want to provide our customers. It’s not always easy to maintain a steady pace of work in a place where we don’t always know how full we’re going to get, but step by step and with an increasing amount of know how, everything has fallen in it’s place.
Nayhmul came to work at the scullery in 2019. We had to start by learning how to communicate with each other. Today he does a lot more than dish washing around the kitchen. According to Tomás he is incredibly reliable and effective. So much so, that he might just be promoted in the times to come.
The “Extras” is what we call everyone that waitresses at the restaurant in the weekends or when there is an event. These are students or people that work other jobs during the week. They are our salvation on the weekends when “everyone” comes to visit our farm. They are Bárbara, Catarina, Xana, Beatriz and Carlos.
At the process kitchen:
Piedade is Xico’s wife, and although he has worked here for 30 something years, she has only been with us since December 2018. We obviously already knew each other, but I had never thought that she was as assertive as she has turned out to be. I like people like her, that complain when the standards they need to deliver a good work are not yet in place. Piedade came to work with Laurinda in the production kitchen. In the meantime, Laurinda has had to step out for health reasons and Piedade took on the responsibility in the kitchen. She became head of the production kitchen and I can gladly say that it’s in good hands.
Olha (which reads Olga) has been with us since February 2019 and works in the production kitchen. She is the one that is in charge of making our delicious juices and in her “spare” time gives a hand to Piedade and Liliana.
Liliana also came to Farm looking to try something new and went on to become Piedade’s righ hand. She’s been with us since June 2019.
At the markets:
On Saturdays you can find these lovely college students at our market booth. I am so proud of these ‘kids’ that study all week and on Saturdays commit to waking up at 6am and go set up our market booths in Campo Pequeno, Principe Real and Cascais. In rain, in the sunshine or even during a storm, there they are.
Yesterday’s ones might not be the same as today’s, they graduate, start working and move on. Tomorrow they may all change again, but all with the same will to do the very best they can. Today they are Catarina, Vera, Gonçalo, Leonor, Daniel and Maria.
Filipa has been with us since 2010 and she is the one who takes care of us at the house. She is always available to help out at the warehouse and the restaurant, but fortunately it hasn’t been necessary. She is always concerned with the whole family. It’s so nice to be able to rely on her to come home and have a clean house and a nice lunch or dinner waiting for us after a long day.
A little bit every where:
It’s me, Luisa! One day I had an idea, from the idea came a project, from the project came a business, and from that business a life is booming. And this idea, this project, this business will one day have a life of its own, and just like my children, it won’t depend on me anymore.
On that day I’ll have another idea…
I have to confess that each time I’m asked to update “our team” I get a little more scared. Never in my life I would’ve thought that there would be so many people working on this project. It makes me happy to think that we have been able to come this far, but it’s also scary. However, I also know that we are not done yet
My children have been at the farm since they were born, and all of them in one way or another are part of this team and are still part of this home. They saw, not always gladly, their house being ‘invaded’. Their space become public. I know it’s not easy, and what leads me to think that it’s worth it, is that if it weren’t like this, this house would probably not be ours anymore.
That helped by being present when they were most needed. That were and are so very important in the growth of this Farm. With hard work, enthusiasm or investment. Lena, Leonor, Teresa and Manela, each of them has a bit of themselves here.
Thank you to everyone that gives and/or gave so much of themselves to this dream.